Where is the safest place for a baby to sleep?

Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBCLC, discusses the myths about where a baby should sleep, and how parents should consider co-sleeping. Harvey explains the difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing, and what the research says about the safest place for a baby to sleep.
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Where is the safest place for a baby to sleep?

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Today parents have a lot of decisions to make and one of them is where the baby is going to sleep. I think a lot of them don't understand the difference between co-sleeping and bed sharing. Co-sleeping is actually defined as a baby being within arms reach of the parent, being close to the parent at least in the same room and maybe it's a little sidecar or even a crib in the room. And what's very interesting today is that it's strongly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and those people who have studied sleep and sudden infant death. That babies would be at least near you during the night. Bed sharing is defined as sharing the same sleep surface as a parent. And although that can be dangerous and not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The experts again who have studied this for years, James McKenna being one of them, disagree with the American Academy's position on that but do talk about how important is for parents to have studied carefully where their babies going to sleep no matter what the circumstance is. Interestingly, the research shows that babies who sleep separate from their parents around the corner in another room, have an increase risk of sudden infant death of 25 to 50%. So having the baby near you, close to you allows communication to happen. Smell, sound, touch because the baby doesn't in such deep levels of sleep. It's really communicating with their parents frequently through the night. And parents being close to their babies will hear that baby. If that baby has any need during that night process. One of the most important books you can read before your baby is born is Sleeping with Your Baby by James McKenna. He's one of the researchers on co-sleeping and sudden infant death and provides a platter of information about how to bed share or co-sleep with your baby safely.

Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBCLC, discusses the myths about where a baby should sleep, and how parents should consider co-sleeping. Harvey explains the difference between co-sleeping and bed-sharing, and what the research says about the safest place for a baby to sleep.

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Corky Harvey, MS, RN, IBCLC

Certified Lactation Consultant

Corky Harvey is a co-founder of the Pump Station & Nurtury™ - the first new parent resource center of its kind. She is a registered nurse with a master's degree in maternal/newborn Nursing, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She teaches breastfeeding and baby care classes, facilitates the New Mother Breastfeeding Support Groups, and is a frequent guest lecturer. Corky has three grown children who were breastfed and she loves to claim that their intelligence is linked to this. Corky has two grandsons, Diego who nursed over two years, and 18-month-old Axel who is still breastfeeding. 

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